Outside the window of the Winter Palace hung a pale crescent moon in the sky. We stood by the fireplace in my chamber. The fire burned away, casting its golden light over our faces. Valerina let me undo the laces of her bodice. Her heart pounded like a moth caught in a flame. I had to remind myself that standing before me was a fearsome assassin on the battlefield, someone who could draw enemy's blood without making a sound, but she was also a human, capable of feeling emotions and untamed desires.
I brought my lips to hers, hoping to dissipate her nervousness. She let out a soft moan into my mouth.
"No need to be nervous," I told her between kisses. "It's not like I haven't seen you before, and obviously it's not like we haven't had sex, is it?"
Vale pulled back to glare at me. Her de
The Kremlin needed serious defense against the Kaiser's force. We installed multiple bunkers around the borders. The German Emperor had turned his target towards Russia as predicted. His troop had occupied Poland, our primary ally. Now, he was coming for Belarus, the last of our protection. Soon, our enemy would be at our gates in less than three months.That wasn't a lot of time to get ready. The rise of the Japanese Imperial Army left Alex with no choice but to split half of our force. It was rumored that their gigantic automatons were unstoppable, capable of great destruction and carnage on any scale. My sister had come up with an idea using an autobot called the Mole. It was the size of a warehouse, an enormous subterranean robot that burrowed through the ground and mountains with its sharp driller."The Mole is a new invention from
Inside the warm tearoom, I sat watching the frost frame the glass windows. Everywhere was under a thick sheet of snow. This winter seemed like it would go on forever, freezing the earth to its core.Avery poured some hot chamomile tea into my cup."Sugar?" she said, but I shook my head."I like it as it is, thanks," I said.She stirred the sweet-scented brew, letting hot steam drift into the air and disappeared. Then she put the silver spoon down and held the cup towards me. I accepted the drink with a smile.Her fingers were as cold as mine when I touched them. Although I already expected to find some changes in her, this still overwhelmed me. Avery didn't seem to notice my surprise
ValerinaA few weeks later, after the Czarina left Kremlin with the Cossacks, the Alpha and I were asked to detail our assassin soldiers to help defend against the growing recruit-militia of the Kaiser.I refilled the quicksilver bullets into the pistols and cleaned the retractable double blades before strapping them to my body.My work was interrupted by a messenger from Trotsky, bidding me come to the headquarter as quickly as possible. Sensing trouble and worried about it, I had prayed that we did not face any loophole in our plans and everything was in good order. I packed the remaining weapons I thought I might need into the saddlebag and left.I
AnastasiaMoscow lay under a cloudy, blood-red sky. In the distance, the winter sun lanced down its rays. Smokes hung in the air over the wide borders of the capital.The monitor screens transmitted images of the battlefields. Some were still active in fighting and shooting while others already died down with either counterpart retreated. Images flashed from screens to screens. I saw a crow standing on a corpse's chin, pecking hungrily at its eyes. A riderless horse stampeded by, driven mad by the smell of the dead and gas. Broken tanks and vehicles overturned. Torn flags snapped in the breeze.I tried to locate where a certain group of hunters was. Groaning with impatience, I turned to the operators.<
The sound of planes crashing to the ground and bombs going off in the distance filled the city. Buildings, chapels, and monuments were blown up, crumbling into piles of bricks and cinders. There were war tanks and cars engulfed in flames.We had moved to our underground headquarter. I stood observing the masked soldiers crawling through the streets of Kremlin. The enemy had advanced past the gates into the capital at last."Where are the other soldiers?" I asked one of my generals."They're all dead, Your Highness. The remaining troops are also wounded. The army we have left is now defending our headquarter and the main bases."I realized that we were failing in the battle. They outnumbered us by the thousands. Those rotten undead-Naz
I sat holding Valerina against my chest. Her face, white as the snow that had frozen my heart, no longer showed any sign of life. The sounds of exploding bombs reverberated all over the city, but all I felt was the coldness that seeped through every pore of my body. The coldness that would last longer than any winter in the world."Valerina," I whispered her name over and over as if it would wake her up and bring her back from this endless sleep.I knew she wouldn't hear it anymore. The hollowness in my chest spread like a black hole. The words were lost forever. We stayed in the same bed, but it felt as if we were a world apart.Another bomb struck the ground, shaking the building. Dust fell from the ceiling like snowflakes then the light went out. I tightened my hold around the lifel
The nature of sorrow often fades over time, but once in a while it remains lodged below the surface of things, a stubborn thorn under a fingertip, making itself felt every time you brush against it.The years galloped past, flowing onward like the waters of a river, disappearing never to return, on this day, it had been three or maybe five years. I did not keep track of time anymore. But the beauty of the bright spring sunshine, rejoiced with blossoms and the song of birds, brought nostalgia to my heart.I brushed another paint stroke against the canvas. Purple was my favorite color, but now I had grown to love red. Red was vibrant and strong. Red was the color of blood and life.In the garden under the spring sun, the portrait was taking shape, a beautiful shape of a woman I loved and